The novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the incomes, profits and earnings of Maryland business owners.
If your business has been closed, you may immediately consider a business interruption/loss of income claim under your commercial insurance policy.
The forced closures of Maryland’s businesses has had a devastating effect the state, and national, economy. The full economic impact of the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic may never be known. " [O]ne in four small businesses (24%) report having already temporarily shut down. … 40% report it is likely they will shut temporarily within the next two weeks….Forty-three percent believe they have less than six months until a permanent shutdown is unavoidable. Nearly half of small businesses (46%) believe it will take the U.S. economy six months to a year to return to normal.” 1 The forced business closures resulting from the various closure orders issued by the State have impacted some industries more severely than others. The restaurant industry has been particularly hard hit. One national publication notes that“[a]n analyst for the investment bank UBS estimates that 200,000 restaurants in the U.S., one in five, could go out of business because of the outbreak.”2
If you are a Maryland business owner, it is likely that your business has been closed by the State. I suggest that you review your commercial insurance policy to check for potential insurance coverage for your loss of business revenue. I've developed a checklist for guidance. I suggest you take the following vital first steps if you’ve sustained a coronavirus / COVID-19 related business interruption or loss of income.
- Notify your insurance company, and fully comply with all of your obligations under the policy.
- Create a timeline of events pertinent to your businesses closing.
- Meticulously document all of your losses, damages and extra expenses.
- Have an experienced business interruption attorney review your policy for loss of business income coverage.
- Have an experienced insurance dispute attorney determine if other coverage such as civil authority, extra expense, or event cancellation may apply.
The early indication is that the insurance industry will generally deny these cases as a matter of course. Certainly, insurance companies deny claims each and every day. The coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic was routinely described as "novel". Certainly, coronavirus / COVID-19 related insurance claims will present novel coverage and legal issues. Insurance companies routinely deny claims based on a lack of coverage. The remedy to challenge these denials is legal action directly against your insurance company.
I battle insurance companies that have denied claims every day. I’ve litigated thousands of such disputes over the course of my career. If your business has been closed by the State, I’d be happy to discuss your coverage, losses and potential claims with you in a manner of your choosing. Please fill out the contact form on the site, or call me directly at 410-591-2835.